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Green Door ; Inspirational Homes in Leitrim. Ideas for Sustainable Building
Leitrim Sculpture Centre, September 11th, 2011

Exhibition Images:


Inspirational Homes Leitrim documents and makes accessible the diverse ways of building tucked away in our landscape. We hope to facilitate the sharing of experiences, knowledge and skills amongst builders, homeowners, architects, selfbuilders and anyone with an interest in making sustainable the future of building in Ireland.

The inaugural event in 2011 is led by Leitrim Development Company. Leitrim County Council and in particular Mr Ciaran Tracy Senior planner have made an important contribution to the project so far as have Leitrim Tourism and the other member of the steering group. This will become an annual event and the hope is that as the network of people who are contributing to Inspirational Homes Leitrim and Green Door develops they will build on this very unique element of the Built heritage in the County. It will also become an event which will attract a diverse group of visitor to the County from around the country and from abroad. Dr Jo Lewis, and her associates, as the contractors to deliver this event (and the research element) have been very professional and Jo’s inspiration, commitment and interest has certainly enhanced the project.

Jo says:
"Since 2001 myself and my partner Mike worked to renovate and extend a 100 year old traditional three-roomed stone cottage. Our aims were to self-build a family home in the most sustainable way possible.
As non-builders we were starting from scratch in terms of what to build and how. We gathered information from books, magazines and friends. However at times, we still felt that we were working in a void. Information on such things such as which source of heating to choose, how does lime work on earth floors, although used by others before us, was not easily available to us. The choices were many and the information we were looking for often needed to be based on local knowledge and we didn’t know who to ask.

Over the next seven years, we continued to live in a mobile home while the work carried on. Some things worked out well such as finding the right architect and making the straw-bale walls while others, such as crumbling chimneys, were problematic; and of course it all took a lot, lot longer than anticipated! In 2009, we moved into our almost complete home, which we are now really very happy with although, work still needs to be done.
During this time I heard of and came across many beautiful new, extended and restored homes hidden away in the Leitrim landscape and realised that there is a wealth of knowledge and experience out there that deserves to be shared. Nothing can beat first-hand honest information, experience, and advice.

At the same time, during the economic boom there was a huge amount of building, much of which was insensitive to the environment. As we all now know, many of these houses have been left standing, unsold and empty. As a reaction to this and to new economic and environmental factors, more people are now looking for different ways of building and living; ways which are more sensitive to the Irish vernacular as well as to the environment. By making available examples of homes and work by builders and architects who have worked hard over the years to experiment with alternative ways of building, living and designing, Inspirational Homes Leitrim hopes to respond to the need for more information, dialogue and on-the-ground advice about building for the future. We are placing emphasis on the importance of local networking of information, resources, skills and technologies.
Through the easy to search website we hope to showcase what building designs and techniques have been used in Co Leitrim with the aim of offering support and encouragement to home-builders/architects and designers, from very basic shelter making to more elaborate and substantial structures.

The Green-Door weekend is the annual highlight of IHL and offers a weekend of sharing and networking with the aim of celebrating what has been achieved, highlighting design for the future of rural living, and allowing people the opportunity to share and network."